MATCH REPORT: Mansfield Town come back from two goals down to beat Colchester United

CJ Hamilton and Tyler Walker celebrate the dramatic winner
CJ Hamilton and Tyler Walker celebrate the dramatic winner

Mansfield pulled off a scintillating comeback win to beat promotion rivals Colchester United for the first time since 2002.

The Stags looked down and out at 2-0 down before coming from behind to secure a memorable victory.

First-half goals from Tom Eastman and Courtney Senior had all but secured the U’s a place back in the top three.

But Nicky Ajose, Tyler Walker and CJ Hamilton secured a dramatic turnaround after the break.

The Stags struggled to create any meaningful chances in the first half as loanee Jordan Smith had plenty to do.

Smith was called into action early on to deny Sammie Szmodics.

And minutes later the young shot-stopper pulled off a stunning save to once again keep out the frontman.

But Smith’s hopes of a first clean sheet for the club went out of the window in the 14th minute when stabbed home after Mikail Mandron’s touch fell kindly for him.

It was two on the half-hour mark as Senior drove into the box and fired home his second goal is as many games.

The visitors only chance before the break came when Malvind Benning forced Rene Gilmartin into a fantastic one-handed stop from the edge of the box.

Szmodics headed over early in the second half before Chris Hamilton’s cross-cum-shot was tipped over by Gilmartin.

Ajose headed home his first goal in Stags’ colours to give the visiting fans some hope.

And 13 minutes later the visitors were level as Walker found the back of the net after being teed up by Jorge Grant.

With 11 minutes left Ajose turned provider as Hamilton put the visitors in front.

Late on Smith did well to keep all three points in the Stags’ grasp when he kept out Harry Pell’s header.

Hayden White provided a late injury scare when he was stretchered off in stoppage time.

Colchester: Gilmartin, Jackson, Eastman, Prosser, Dickenson (Vincent-Young, 67), Lapslie (Ogedi-Uzokwe, 81), Pell, Senior (Comley, 72), Szmodics, Nouble, Mandron.

Unused subs: Barnes, Gondoh, Wright, Kensdale.

Mansfield: Smith, White (Atkinson, 90+6), Pearce, Sweeney, Hamilton, Mellis, Grant (Rose, 87), Bishop, Benning, Walker, Ajose (Preston, 82).

Unused subs: Logan, Smith, Graham, Khan